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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The City Of Falling Angels

The City of Falling Angels is John Berendt's follow up to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, his  debut about Savannah, Georgia. This book is ostensibly about the destruction by fire of La Fenice Opera House in Venice in 1996 but the fire and the subsequent investigation into who set it is not nearly as interesting as the gossipy stories about the denizens of the city. It's all about the people, not art and architecture. The rat catcher of Treviso, the mistress of Ezra Pound, the earthly representative of the Democratic Republic of the Planet Mars, the Save Venice do-gooders and the various craftsmen and politicians provide fascinating fodder for Berendt's tale of a murky Venice most of us would never get to see.  He captures the intrigue and the resentments that fester under the surface of La Serenissima. 
I found it an engaging story (more so, I suspect, because I read it shortly after visiting Venice) but it lacks the narrative appeal of his first book.

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